Plato on the Omo : reflections on decision-making among the Kara of southern Ethiopia

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2011
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Journal of Eastern African Studies. 2011, 5(1), pp. 177-194. ISSN 1753-1055. eISSN 1753-1063. Available under: doi: 10.1080/17531055.2011.544547
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The paper presents an ethnographic description of the institutions and processes of decision-making among the Kara of Southern Ethiopia, central among them the council of spokesmen called the borkotto bitti. Comparing these practices as well as the Kara's own discussions of them with equivalent practices of their cultural neighbours, the Hamar, reveals the extent and complexity of social imagination in the Lower Omo Valley. The philosopher Plato's treatise on the philosopher-kings of the utopian city (“Republic”) offers another foil for the ethnographic data in its dense discussion of the links between decision-making, personal virtue, status, accountability and the common weal, which mirrors the Kara's own reflections. The inevitable contradictions in the political system are accordingly treated not simply from an analytical perspective, but as an actors' problem.

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300 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie
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ISO 690GIRKE, Felix, 2011. Plato on the Omo : reflections on decision-making among the Kara of southern Ethiopia. In: Journal of Eastern African Studies. 2011, 5(1), pp. 177-194. ISSN 1753-1055. eISSN 1753-1063. Available under: doi: 10.1080/17531055.2011.544547
BibTex
@article{Girke2011Plato-37249,
  year={2011},
  doi={10.1080/17531055.2011.544547},
  title={Plato on the Omo : reflections on decision-making among the Kara of southern Ethiopia},
  number={1},
  volume={5},
  issn={1753-1055},
  journal={Journal of Eastern African Studies},
  pages={177--194},
  author={Girke, Felix}
}
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